Belarus: Rubiazhevichi – St Joseph Church

Belarus doesn’t have many old churches and cathedrals remaining – multiple wars (from Napoleon to WWI to WWII) demolished most of the structures and flattened an already flat landscape. Still there are several old buildings that have miraculously remained through the ages, hidden in tiny villages. One of them is the St Joseph Church, a Catholic structure, in the village of Rubiazhevichi, about an hour west from Minsk. The village used to have a Russian Orthodox wooden church and two synagogues, but none of them remain, while the catholic touch keeps standing from 1906 with its twin stone towers. The village became a Jewish ghetto during the Nazi occupation in 1941-44 and over 2400 people were eventually either killed here or shipped to death camps. Also, one of the most successful and brazen guerilla partizan attacks on German occupying troops happened here, with the entire garrison destroyed.